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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Global temperatures hit record highs over last year

Global temperatures have reached unprecedented levels, with the past 12 months setting consecutive records.

Global temperatures have reached unprecedented levels, with the past 12 months setting consecutive records. The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that May was the warmest on record, marking the 12th consecutive month of record-breaking temperatures.

Unprecedented Warming

May’s global average temperature was 1.52°C above the pre-industrial average, making it the 11th consecutive month where temperatures were at least 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Over the year from June 2023 to May 2024, the global average temperature was 1.63°C above the pre-industrial average. This trend is alarming, indicating that the world is edging closer to the critical thresholds set by the Paris Agreement.

Read More: Pakistan temperatures cross 52 C in heatwave

Impacts Felt Globally

The effects of these rising temperatures are already being felt worldwide. In the United States, another summer of extreme heat and wildfires looms, while an “explosive” hurricane season is expected in the Atlantic. In the past month alone, deadly floods have claimed hundreds of lives in Afghanistan, Brazil, and Indonesia, and dozens have perished in India from extreme heat.

Grim Warning

Experts warn that this trend might be just the beginning. “This string of hottest months will be remembered as comparatively cold,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service. Despite potential interruptions, the overall trend of climate change remains, with no signs of a reversal in sight. Buontempo emphasizes that while the current records are shocking, they are not surprising given the ongoing trends.

Urgent Need for Action

The primary way to mitigate these rising temperatures is by minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from burning fossil fuels. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called for more ambitious climate action, noting an 80% likelihood that at least one year between 2024 and 2028 will temporarily exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Guterres stresses the urgency of the situation, stating, “Our planet is trying to tell us something. But we don’t seem to be listening.”

Read More: Urgent need of heat supply due to historically low temperatures in China

Despite the grim statistics, there is still hope if significant efforts are made to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations. Buontempo suggests that stabilizing these concentrations could help return to “cold” temperatures by the end of the century. The key is immediate and substantial action to curb emissions, particularly of carbon dioxide and methane, the most abundant and potent greenhouse gases, respectively.